Harriett Rex SmithAbout the Artist

Childhood

I lived in Valparaiso, Indiana, on the edge of town. I spent much time out in the woods, mostly happy. I had the blessing of good parents.

Education

As Robert Maynard Hutchins said, “Education is what prepares you for experience.” After high school, where art and music were well taught, I went to the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis. When jobs for women opened up during World War II, I left, taking a job with the advertising agency Foote, Cone & Belding and moving to Chicago.

Much later, after marriage, seven children and divorce, I re-entered formal schooling, taking my BFA from the Herron School (now part of Indiana University) and three years later, my MFA from the University of Notre Dame.

Teaching

I fell into teaching because it is one of the best ways to learn. I taught painting classes in my studio, gave summer workshops at “The Clearing” in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin, and taught at Purdue, Indiana and Valparaiso Universities.

In 1978 I moved to Oregon, established my studio in the woods some miles outside of Ashland, and taught in the “artists-in-the-schools” program where I learned that creativity is everyone’s birthright and is not just for “talented and gifted” individuals.

Still preparing for experience, I read books that opened my mind, especially “A Course in Miracles.” I changed my direction from a competitive artist to a contemplative one, and stopped entering art shows which awarded prizes. 
I feel I owe so much to so many — this would be a long biography if all were listed. I believe that the same Spirit informs all my teachers and so in thanking the Holy One, I thank them all. They have helped me shake off the fashionable in art and put my mind to exploring what I believe in — beauty as an aspect of God.

In my elder years, I seem to spend much time in the woods, mostly very happy.